Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I have always envied collectors of American Historical views who live on the East Coast.  There are so many East Coast patterns that celebrate American history.  I grew up in Philadelphia, and there are tons of Philadelphia patterns, but I have lived near San Francisco since the 1970s.  Thus, I was delighted to find two tiny plates, 2.88 inches in diameter, that focused on California's Gold Rush: "Away To California" and "California Diggings."

These toy or souvenir plates were made by John Thomson (& Sons) at the Annfield Pottery (1826-1883) in Glasgow.  They are part of a series of plates that are mainly unrelated.  "Indian Chiefs," "Highland Dance," and "Royal Exchange" (Glasgow) are a few of the other patterns. 

Panning for gold in California was the rage between 1849-1864.   Among the many who arrived in California in the 1850s was my husband's great great great (he doesn't remember how many greats) grandfather.  Unfortunately, he didn't find any gold.  Luckily, the "gold" in California today is real estate.


  1. I am enjoying the photos and the information. The "Le Petit Chaperon Rouge" plates are very charming.

    I look forward to more interesting posts.

  2. What are the California Diggings plates worth? Are they rare?

    1. Not rare, but like anything that is around 170 years old, not common. I don't know the value now, but they used to sell between $150-$300.

  3. Thank you for the quick reply! Were they made during the California gold rush or were they a comemerative made at a later time period?

  4. I think the patterns were made around the time of the Gold Rush. The factory, John Thomson (& Sons), was in business between 1826-1883. The mark, according to Geoffrey Godden in his 1999 Ironstone book says the impressed mark with the words John Thomson, Granite, and an anchor were used pre-1854.